The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War I, general editor Chris Bishop

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War I, general editor Chris Bishop

This book is built around a series of articles first published in Orbis's War Machine, a multi-part publication of the 1980s. Despite the relative age of the articles they are still accurate, and are supported by some excellent illustrations and a good selection of photographs (I was particularly impressed by one showing the massive size of the German 'R' type aircraft).

The format is a familiar one, with each weapon given about half a page, each with at least one illustration (either a full colour drawing or a contemporary photograph). These articles are supported by larger double-page spreads looking at particular battles of the war, including Jutland and some of the major clashes of the Western Front, in each case bringing in the impact of the new weapons of the period

There are also some interesting general articles, including an informative one on the development of naval armour which explains what each of the various types actually were, why they were developed and what they did.

The authors do rather overplay the importance of the tank in breaking the deadlock on the Western Front, ignoring the German successes of 1918 which came without any strong tank forces, but other than that the general background is good.

The naval section is particularly strong, with a good take on the inter-related nature of warship design, both the struggle to balance between armour, speed, firepower and size and the way in which many ships were designed in response to real or imagined threats from new foreign designs. 

This is a good single volume introduction to the weapons of the Great War, the first truly industrialised conflict, and a good starting point for any more detailed study of military technology of the period.

Chapters
Land Weapons
Armoured Vehicles
Field Guns
Heavy Artillery
Machine Guns
Rifles
Pistols

Air Weapons
Fighter Aircraft
Bombers
Airships

Naval Weapons
Battleships
Pre-Dreadnought Battleships
Armoured Cruisers
Light Cruisers
Submarines

General Editor: Chris Bishop
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 272
Publisher: Amber
Year: 2014


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